Smaller Statured Paddlers

  • rhainan
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9 years 6 months ago #21241 by rhainan
Smaller Statured Paddlers was created by rhainan
I'm 163cm tall and have a short wingspan. Do any other vertically challenged paddlers have any tips or ideas regarding stroke?

Assume I am in the right boat and it fits well (I'm in a V10S and it feels good).

I have noticed that I have a higher cadence rate than most other paddlers. I assume that this is because my stroke is short. This seems to make sense because if my catch is around my feet and I exit somewhere between my knees and hips, my stroke rate would have to be much faster than Oscar Chalupsky's to go the same distance. Right?

Also, what about paddle length. I have a 205-215 wing. I almost always have it at 205. I don't know why. Would it be appropriate to lengthen my paddle as that would increase my stroke length? I have been playing around with it for a few paddles but it does not seem to make a big difference.

Thanks for any advice.

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9 years 6 months ago #21245 by gwynnd
Replied by gwynnd on topic Smaller Statured Paddlers
The Epic website has a tool where you enter your stats. It then gives produces a suggestion regarding which paddle would suite you. www.epickayaks.com/wizard

I have become aware that the Fenn Spark and the Epic V10L are boats designed for smaller paddlers.

Good luck

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  • rhainan
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9 years 6 months ago #21246 by rhainan
Replied by rhainan on topic Smaller Statured Paddlers
I'm pretty sure I have the right paddle and boat. I was thinking more about the actual mechanics of the stroke. I have a V10L but am still not stable enough I'm it to concentrate on beautifying my paddle stroke.

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9 years 6 months ago #21247 by gwynnd
Replied by gwynnd on topic Smaller Statured Paddlers
The wizard will help you with the length conundrum.

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9 years 6 months ago #21248 by portmanm
Replied by portmanm on topic Smaller Statured Paddlers
Stellar SES is another low volume option.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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9 years 6 months ago #21249 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Smaller Statured Paddlers
I'm not as short as you, at 173, but normally use a paddle between 206 and 208 for most surfski uses. Sometimes go up to 212 in the K1 flat water.

My partner at about 160 odd uses a paddle around 195 to 200. At no point does this look too short for her.

I think most people use paddles that are too long for them. My recommendation is to keep it short, where you are able to get good technique, good strength and good cadence.

Obviously play around with many lengths - go up to 215, and down as short as you can. But don't really lengthen it until you think that your stroke is otherwise perfect, or you feel you can be as strong, but with better technique at a longer length. i.e. I think my technique is better at 208, but my downwind suffers if I'm not on 206, just because of the strength and cadence issues.

Or try a smaller blade - I've very recently changed from a Fenn 4 to an Orka B Mini... making it possible to experiment at the 208, 209 lengths.

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9 years 6 months ago #21254 by Chookman
Replied by Chookman on topic Smaller Statured Paddlers

rhainan wrote: I'm 163cm tall and have a short wingspan. Do any other vertically challenged paddlers have any tips or ideas regarding stroke?

Assume I am in the right boat and it fits well (I'm in a V10S and it feels good).

I have noticed that I have a higher cadence rate than most other paddlers. I assume that this is because my stroke is short. This seems to make sense because if my catch is around my feet and I exit somewhere between my knees and hips, my stroke rate would have to be much faster than Oscar Chalupsky's to go the same distance. Right?

Also, what about paddle length. I have a 205-215 wing. I almost always have it at 205. I don't know why. Would it be appropriate to lengthen my paddle as that would increase my stroke length? I have been playing around with it for a few paddles but it does not seem to make a big difference.

Thanks for any advice.


All other things equal, you probably won't generate as much force per stroke as someone taller and heavier. You should be using a paddle length which is appropriate for the type of paddling you are doing; trying to gain stroke length by increasing your paddle length beyond what is considered optimal is not the answer. As others have suggested: do the calcs on the Epic paddle wizard and use this as a starting point.

THe stroke mechanics should be similar no matter what height you are. Shorter levers + shorter paddle = higher cadence, unless you can get super strong and generate a lot more force per stroke.

my advice:
1. stick within the optimal paddle length/blade size range for the type of paddling you are doing.
2. constantly focus on technique - get as much out of each stroke as you can.
3. get as strong as possible - consider a weight/core program if you aren't already doing so.
4. get as aerobically fit as possible so as to allow you to maintain higher cadences for longer periods.

Address the above and let cadence take care of itself!
The following user(s) said Thank You: rhainan

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9 years 6 months ago #21255 by Marieski
Replied by Marieski on topic Smaller Statured Paddlers
Speaking from 168cm, 56kg, boats as below: you are unlikely to have your ideal boat unless you are built like a Bulgarian weightlifter. Never mind that now.

Try this as an exercise: get comfortable paddling in your normal way. Then change approach, slow right down but try to get absolute maximum power out of every stroke: really good reach and rotation, very solid plant, upright as possible, strong stroke, feeling this through the footplate, the thighs and the abdomen, quick exit. Get this going as strongly and smoothly as possible, with a pause just before planting the paddle to make sure you are physically and mentally set up for the stroke. Do this slowly till you feel you have it going as powerfully as possible ( as though each stroke is the only one pushing the boat, as Nikki Mocke says).

Then try speeding up, using the same form. You won't be able to maintain your normal cadence for long!

You can also do this in reverse. Start with your "normal" technique, then try 200 strokes focusing on keeping power output the same but maximizing your cadence. You will find the strokes are shorter, further from the boat and there is less paddle in the water.

Note you haven't changed your paddle length at all. If you can go flat out with maximum powered strokes, get a bigger blade, not a longer paddle.

My paddle length has got shorter with the years. I'm now at 205 going upwind as the higher cadence helps me keep rhythm in chop and the "lower gear" is more flexible. I sometimes will lengthen to up to 208 going downwind, partly to get more paddle in the troughs and to match the cadence to the speed.

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7
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